What is DevOps? - Not a Person

This article was last updated on 2023-11-03, the content may be out of date.

If someone would like to hire me for a role of DevOps Engineer, they probably think “What does a DevOps person do?”

It’s important to remember that DevOps is a methodology first, and only secondary, DevOps is a role.

We should stop labeling people as “DevOps Engineers”, as it clearly doesn’t define a skill set one may be looking for.

DevOps Definition
DevOps a set of practices intended to reduce the time between committing a change to a system and the change being placed into normal production, while ensuring high quality.
In other words, it is a methodology that allows us to deliver quality code at a higher velocity, by essentially saying “works on my machine” phrase to our colleagues less often.

Let’s just ask ourselves, what is the exact skill set of a “DevOps Engineer”? Typical options could be:

  1. Software Engineer with some System Admin skills
    • 70% Writing Product Code
      • NodeJS Backend
      • AWS Lambda for product’s data processing
      • A bit of ReactJS
    • 30% Managing Operations:
      • CI/CD using canned solutions like AWS Amplify or Netlify.
      • Some infrastructure (simple click-through, nothing like a cohesive Infrastructure as Code).
      • Some monitoring, inherently with alert fatigue.
      • Docker (to some extent, usually huge unoptimized images as a result).
  2. System Admin with some Software Engineering skills
    • 70% Operations
      • Cohesive Infrastructure as Code.
      • Complex and complete CI/CD via Jenkins, Github Actions, Gitlab and other industry-standard tools.
      • Docker best practices: multi-stage builds, size-optimized images and solid twelve-factor app methodology implementation.
    • 30% Software Engineering
      • NodeJS, Python, Golang backend (performance, scalability, monitoring)
      • Dependency & Security management

Given these two options it’s quite hard (if not impossible) to nail all of them in one rigid job title, to answer a question “What is DevOps”?

Of course, there are other points of view, so it would be interesting to learn yours. Let me know in the comments section!

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Post photo by @patkrupa

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